FARMERS have been asked to “lift immediately” their protest blockade around Paris this morning after accidents at two barricades left one driver dead and six injured when a tractor and a bus full of CRS riot police collided.
Transport Minister Frédéric Cuvillier called on protesters to stop their action which was affecting the A6, A10, A12, A13, A15 motorways and the RN12, RN20 and RN118 into the capital. Police have also called on commuters and other road users to delay their journeys or to use public transport.
Mr Cuvillier called on the farmers to stop their blockades “immediately”. He said: “You do not resolve problems by issuing ultimatums. It’s unbelievable. Imagine if holiday-makers decided the block tractor access during harvest!”
Members of the Ile-de-France farmers’ union FDSEA and the JA young farmers group rejected his pleas. They had launched the blockade at 7.00 in Essonne, Yvelines and Val-d'Oise.
They caused jams of several kilometres as they blocked off part of the roads to allow vehicles to pass in single file and a series of go-slows on main roads.
A 28-year-old firefighter was killed near Croix Verte in Val d’Oise after his car crashed into a lorry near one of the single-lane blockades. He had been heading in to work at Mitry-Mory. Farmers there lifted their blockade after the accident.
The CRIR roads information network said the following roads were affected at rush-hour:
Closed: N12 from Paris to Méré (78).
Lane closures: A6, towards Paris at Coudray-Montceaux (91) – 9km of traffic jam; N20, towards Paris at Etampes (91); access to the A13 at Epônes (78) ; the D14, towards Paris at Sagy (95).
Go-slow convoys: N10, both directions between Ablis (91) at Rambouillet (78).
FDSEA president Damien Greffin said that they intended to halt their action at the end of the morning and called for the resignation of Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll. He attacked the recent redistribution of European aid, which had been retargeted to help small and livestock farmers.
Mr Greffin said the new rules could “cut arable farmers’ revenues by 30-40%” and the government was “massacring the vegetable growing industry”.
However, Hautes-Pyrénées socialist MP Jean Glavany, a former agriculture minister, called the protests “a scandal” denouncing farmers “who pull in the highest aid in Europe and then block the roads”. He said that “80% of the aid goes to 20% of the biggest farmers” and added: “It is normal to ask a big effort of the biggest farmers to help the smaller ones who have nothing.”